The second to last race of the Lower Mainland Cross Country Series, the Fraser Valley Cross Country Ramble, took place at Clearbrook Park in Abbotsford on Sunday, November 18. It was a 6.3K race, 150 meters out at the start, then three 2K laps, and 150 meters in to the finish.
We started out in the field at 9:45 AM, turning left to start the first lap after the first 150 meter straightaway. Running alongside the flags marking the course in the grass, we soon got our feet nice and wet running through a couple of patches of water. A couple of hundred meters later we hit the same cracked asphalt and gravel trail that we'd run on in the B.C. Cross Country Championships 3 weeks earlier.
This also reminded me of the early part of the Seawall Race, because I noticed that I was running right behind Mikey Ross, which meant I was going too fast and it was time to slow down a little. Instead of going over the clearcut hill like we did in the B.C. Champs race, we turned left before reaching it, running a short distance before hanging another left and heading back the other way on a crushed gravel path.
In the B.C. Champs we ran about 200 meters and kept going straight, running over a dry grass path before going up and over another clearcut hill. Today we turned right and ran around the field until we went by where the starting point was, far off to our left, and into the woods. By this time my clubmate Murray had come up and passed me, and so had Vaclav (Vas), and I was now at the back of a strung out line of racers. Originally we'd been a chase pack behind the leaders, but now the leaders were far ahead, and we couldn't really be called a pack anymore.
After exiting the woods in the Champs we'd turned and ran across the top of "the bowl", and headed towards the start area to begin the second lap. Here we kept going for about 80 meters and then headed a few meters downhill into the bowl, which was about the size of a soccer field. We ran around the back of it and then all the way to the other end, uphill out of the bowl, and about 300 meters through the water and grass to the end of the lap.
Going down into the bowl I noticed that the blonde woman from last week, Miranda Alldritt, was now heading up the hill and out of it, with about a 150 meter lead on me. I figured she'd be getting her revenge on me today for beating her at the end of the Remembrance Day race. When running up the hill out of the bowl myself I noticed that there was still nobody in sight behind us yet, we'd opened up quite a gap on the rest of the field.
As we ran past the start/finish chute entrance to begin the second lap, I was behind a guy in a blue shirt, with Vas running in front of him. We stayed in that order until we hit the woods again, when blue shirt sped up and passed Vas (no pun intended). Heading down into the bowl I noticed that Miranda was only about 50 meters ahead of me now, and by the time we started the last lap she was only a few meters in front of me. We lapped a few of the slower runners, some of who were my clubmates, and I heard one of them yell "Go, Gord, go!" after I ran past.
By the time we reached the woods Vas had slowed up and we both passed him. I sped up and when we were climbing out of the bowl for the last time I was right behind Miranda, but she found another gear as we ran around the field and towards the finish chute. I heard Vas somewhere behind me too, he hadn't given up yet.
Miranda turned down the finishers' chute and we sprinted in but I couldn't catch her this week, and told her that after we'd crossed the line. Vas came in and we talked to Murray and some of the other finishers. Dee arrived about a minute and a half later, and soon after she did I went to my car to put my jacket on and get my bell and camera.
I went back to the finish line to ring my bell to welcome incoming runners and take a few pictures. Jimmy and Mary Hinze came in, and then Rob Daniel, with Elsie, Tina, and Sarah coming in together to finish things off.
Draw prizes and awards were next, and a lot of people had left, so Mikey Ross said "Good, it gives us a better chance!" I won a pair of running shorts, and a few of my clubmates, including Elsie and Sarah, won draw prizes too. Race awards, which I believe were $50 Peninsula Runners gift certificates, were given out to the top 3 overall men and women finishers, plus the top men and women in the 10 year age groups. Mikey won our age group and his friend Ryan won his, plus Dee and Mary won theirs.
Results are up and I was 21st overall out of 46, 4 of 11 in my age group, with a time of 26:39. http://www.peninsularunners.com/events/2012/ramble2012.txt
In the series we gained quite a bit on the Kajaks, now only 40 points behind, which sets up a final showdown for the championship trophy at the Gunner Shaw 10K at Jericho Beach Park on December 1.
Here's the individual series standings:
My next race is the 8K Masters race at the Canadian Cross Country Championships, this Saturday, November 24, at 10 AM.